So… it’s been a while hasn’t it?
When I tell you that the last couple of months have had me round in a tail spin, I honestly feel like I’ve never been so busy in my life, and I don’t know whether this is just what happens when you hit your mid 20’s, but there’s certainly been a couple of occasions since I last wrote in May where I’ve just thought “what on Earth is actually going on!?”
Life has been absolutely crazy. What I mean is that I started a new job back in March which has been getting seemingly busier every week (regularly working overtime). I am at the last stages of becoming a homeowner, where we have an exchange/completion date set. My boyfriend and I have been trying to savour every chance of relaxation after work to enjoy life- whether it be with walks, or going on a break to Weymouth like we did last month. On top of this, I’ve been seeing family more often, and trying to keep in touch with more people online or in-person as the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions loosen up.
The other night, I sat down for about 3 hours writing down everything that needs to be done before we move house, and whilst it seemed managable on paper, I suddenly had the dread of “We’ve got to do this in ADDITION to life”. It’s not like I can just put everything on hold, but on the other hand- being busy is how I thrive. One of my values stem from the fact that I have the opportunities to do these things, and I’ve been told on numerous occasions that I need to slow down. I’ve been told I work fast, I am always thinking, I never settle for what I have- and it’s just the way I’ve always been.
The concern that I do have for myself in all honesty is one day just having a complete burn out- but I know I’m not alone in this. In 2019, the term burn-out was officially added to the International Classification of Diseases, and with the stressors of Covid-19 that have come along since; it’s no wonder many teenagers, and adults are feeling overwhelmed with life generally.
There’s been a saving grace in all of this for my personally: learning gratitude. This year has been a huge thinking exercise in realising that I have it good, and also learning when I need to take a step back. For example, as painful as it is to admit, I have had to decrease my attention on my volunteering. I have been volunteering in the mental health sector for a couple of years now for some well-known charities, however I know that I can’t be 100% attentive, when I know my thoughts are elsewhere. I have been doing shifts from time to time, but the level of guilt I’ve felt in that I haven’t been able to give as much attention to it has been an anxiety trigger point (which is also not a good mind-set for doing a volunteering shift). Another lull I’ve had has been with this website. I know I haven’t been the most active lately, and I love writing – so not being able to divide my attention to this has also sucked.
So if there’s a purpose for this post, that I want to write to you today – it’s that you shouldn’t apologise for not doing something like I have. You only get so many hours in a day, and there is a saying going around that I keep hearing that “if you want to do something- you’ll make the time“- and to be honest, what a load of BS. I might be able to come across as an apologist but hear me out:
Life is fast. Life is relentless. Life will throw so many curveballs at times that you don’t know what’s going on. Sometimes after a day/week/fortnight of absolute chaos, you may need that me time. Being told you’re “making excuses” on a generic Facebook post your former friend from school wrote if you don’t do something feeds in the “live fast, work hard” culture that drives many to burn-out, stress, and illness. You need to do what is best for you, but just because you haven’t messaged your friend back right away, or you haven’t practiced playing guitar, or learning that language you’ve always wanted to learn for a while- doesn’t mean you don’t want to do those things. You are doing what you need to do in that moment, that’s perfectly okay.